SHC orders govt to complete budget approval process for e-libraries in two months

July 02, 2020

The Sindh High Court has directed the culture and finance secretaries to complete the process for the approval of the budget for the establishment of e-libraries in the province which are supposed...

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The Sindh High Court has directed the culture and finance secretaries to complete the process for the approval of the budget for the establishment of e-libraries in the province which are supposed to have smooth internet service.

The court directed the district and sessions judges to assign visits to libraries established by all departments trough the magistrates who shall ensure smooth working thereof, the availability of competitive examination books therein and submit a report through an inspection team member of the SHC with regard to the requirements of the libraries.

The direction came on a lawsuit filed by the Mashal Welfare Foundation with regard to the allocation of funds to the public libraries and informal schools. The culture, tourism, antiquities and archives department’s secretary submitted that there were 27 libraries out of which six libraries were functioning without a schedule for new expenditures.

He said the library section of the department lacked budget as no extra budget was available to shift the libraries from electricity to solar system. He said the department would establish libraries in each district of the province.

The SHC’s single bench, headed by Justice Salahuddin Panhwar, observed that libraries now required qualified people with special skills and knowledge.

The court directed the finance secretary to ensure that the schedule of new expenditure (SNE) of six libraries be approved within 15 days and submit a compliance report. The court directed the culture secretary to float the summary for the approval of funds and that the finance department shall approve the budget within two months to establish e-libraries with an uninterrupted internet facility as well as the shifting of libraries from electricity to solar energy system.

It is pertinent to mention that the SHC had directed the finance and education departments to ensure the establishment of e-libraries in every district of the province in the upcoming budget on a similar pattern as being done by Punjab. The court also took exception over the non-utilisation of a major portion of funds allocated for the libraries in the province.

Recommendations sought

The court also directed the committee constituted to recommend the name for the chairman of the Sindhi Language Authority, an autonomous body under the administrative control of the culture department, to complete the exercise while looking into the seriousness of the work assigned to the Sindhi Language Authority.

The court observed that committee shall ensure that prerequisite conditions were fulfilled and thereafter the culture secretary shall submit the names for members of the board. The court observed that the committee of the authority shall re-examine all inappropriate entries and point out discrepancies in Encyclopedia Sindhiana and submit recommendations to the authority for re-issuing of such publications after removing the discrepancies/inappropriate entries in Sindhiana.

The court observed that the high court’s division bench’s direction with regard to the renaming of roads, public parks and government institutions had not been complied with. The court directed the chief secretary to remove the names of all such individuals, politicians, feudal lords and the ruling elite from such public places and submit a compliance report.

Contempt notices

The court took notice of the non-appearance of the vice chairman and the managing director of the Sindh Technical Education & Vocational Training Authority and issued contempt of court notices to them for disobeying the court order. The court directed the finance deputy secretary to submit a complete breakup of the international education budget allocation and release thereof in the last five years.



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